a man and woman dance on the edge of a cliff, surrounded by soaring birds

I Am Free

I have read so many stories about people with diseases just giving up; especially when they hear the word cancer, terminal illness, or it’s a stage IV diagnosis. You feel like your whole world is coming down around you and only you understand your struggle. I can just only imagine what you are feeling.

My father's positivity

My father has had two types of cancers for over 20 years with COPD and has had his struggles with these illnesses. He is now 85 and going strong. He doesn’t waste time looking at the past, but just happy he’s living today. He makes me laugh when I ask him about the future; he says, "I’m 85 and still here; nothing bothers me anymore. I’m happy today and will be happy again tomorrow."

Decisions! Decisions!

We are all different and must make our own personal decisions for ourselves. A few years ago, I spoke to a friend of mine who didn’t want to continue his treatments after his diagnosis. He was at his worst with this disease and didn’t want to live this way anymore. I had to ask why? He told me he had a good life and understands what's ahead of him. So, I ask him; what now?

I wanted to know what was in his future. He told me some positive things to this dilemma. He said I couldn’t see the forest for the trees, but he could live his life to the fullest now and embrace it. He didn’t want to be laid up in a sick bed full of drugs. He said he could concentrate on enjoying himself and not worried about treatments and going to doctor appointments all the time.

He doesn’t dwell on what is going to happen to him but concentrates on enjoying life to the end. He spends time with family and friends, going to movies, and eating out. My friend knows he’s dying, so he even goes visit places he hasn’t been to before. He’s not very spiritual but does believe in life after death, so he holds on to that.

What can I do for my friend?

After spending countless hours with my friend, I didn’t want people to ever forget him, so I knew I had to do something while he was still here with us. He was always getting emails every day from someone saying something positive about him. I put these all in a book form. I figure this was his eulogy; he needed to enjoy it now. Once he’s gone, he can’t appreciate it. I set up an email for just him and his very close friends to chat when they wanted to. They spent countless hours talking about the good old days. I tried to get him to join a support group, but he says he’s happy right where he is.

Find your purpose

Having an illness is never good, one way or another. You must deal with different emotions and deal with the illness along the way. It’s harder when we just say no more; it’s time to move on. My friend knows his life had a purpose, therefore, he knew why he was put here on earth. He didn’t save the world, run any marathons, or become an opera singer; but he was a good husband, father, and a good person who loved his family and friends. I wanted to share some of his stories so that he can be cherished for years to come and to let you know that you can be free with a terminal illness.

My friend passed on November 8, 2018.

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